Every week, 2000 AD brings you the galaxy’s greatest artwork and 2000 AD Covers Uncovered takes you behind-the-scenes with the headline artists responsible for our top cover art – join bloggers Richard Bruton and Pete Wells as they uncover the greatest covers from 2000 AD!

This week we talk to John Higgins about his stunning cover to the Judge Dredd Megazine issue 429, available from 17 February with the sixth and final part of Dreadnoughts: Breaking Ground – brought to you by the creative team of Michael Carroll, John Higgins, Sally Hurst and Simon Bowland.

JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE 429 is OUT NOW!

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Have no fear though – although it’s the finale of Breaking Ground, the series will return with a second series, The March of Progress. Mike Carroll has already turned in his script and John Higgins will be getting cracking on the art once he finishes the art for a new John Wagner-penned Judge Dredd six-parter meant for June 2021, Now That’s What I Call Justice.

So, now it’s time to luxuriate in the brilliance of John Higgins’ latest cover art…

JOHN HIGGINS: Matt Smith asked me to do a series cover rather than an episode-specific cover for the final episode of Dreadnoughts. The setting is Judge Glover standing in front of the traditional law enforcers who she and her fellow Judges are starting to replace, I felt it gave an allegorical spin to the scene and also established her as a fearless individual who leads from the front and represents the best that you can hope for in what will be a new world order.

Matt approved the very first black and white rough I did so I felt confident with the composition and focus of the image.

I painted it traditionally, using Gouache and magicolor inks on washboard, I knew Glover and the cops were going to be backlit by the flames of a city-wide riot, so to achieve a flame effect I tipped yellow, magenta and delta violet transparent inks on to a wet board and let them blend in a fractal way, one can be pleasantly surprised with how the colours intermix and form interesting shapes with little guidance.

I used gouache paint on Glover and the rioters lying in the foreground, gouache is a great paint to give a solidity to objects set against the transparent inks of the background, it really threw her forward.

I then scanned it in and finished digitally with background details, such as highlights on the riot police helmets and shields, and colour balanced the background colours, I was happy with Glover and the foreground so did little digital adjusting on that part of the painting.

Now that, I think we can all agree is a suitably stunning cover to mark the end of what has been perhaps the debut of the year. Dreadnoughts has been a story that’s firmly established itself as a favourite with fans, revealing just what it was like on the ground as the world that would become Dredd’s world changed forever, a shifting world where the rule of law is changing to the rule of the Judges.

Thank you to John for taking the time to share the work behind that great cover.

You can find Megazine issue 429 on the shelves and in the 2000 AD web shop right now!